Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ward Bonfire on the Beach

One tradition that I have loved here in Monterey is the annual Ward Bonfire that the EQ puts on every year.  September/October is Monterey's "summer" so it's the perfect time for a night at the beach.  Trek started the bonfire 3 summers ago when he was put in the EQ presidency & now the entire ward looks forward to this ONE NIGHT a year we can come & just PLAY.

This year was no exception.  We always go to Carmel Beach (right by Pebble Beach Golf Course) because it's the most beautiful beach in the area.  We set up a big bonfire & ward members come with their friends & family & we cook, eat, play, & chat.  It's the best activity ever.

This year we roasted hot dogs over the open fire & we added Reese's S'mores to the menu as well as provided the classic S'mores for those who like the original.  They were FABULOUS.

We had a blast & hope everyone else did too.  We're going to miss this area & this ward.  Every September I'll be thinking of Seaside 1st Ward & their amazing Bonfires at the Beach.


Can I just say I absolutely & completely LOVE my BOYS.  As Craiger gets older, Bladen plays with him more & the two of them have become the best of friends.  I could watch the two of them play together all day long.

The other day, Bladen got out his football & "taught" his little brother how to play catch.  These little moments are what make my life complete. 



Yes, there were a few moments where someone got a football to the face.  But even with the mishaps, they had a BLAST with each other.


Monterey County Fair

We've lived in Monterey for 3 summers now & we never went to the 
Monterey County Fair.  
So, this year when the fairgrounds started setting up their rides, ferris wheels, & fabulous food, we couldn't resist going on Military FREE day.

We had a BLAST.

First we bought a bazillion tickets for the kids to ride whatever they wanted. . . well, 4 rides each.  Lorien walked straight to the HUGE slide in the middle of the fairgrounds.  She was in heaven.

Cadence didn't want to ride anything.  She just wanted to throw ping pong balls into fishbowls to try to win a goldfish.  (We knew very well it was impossible to win, but we let her play 4 times instead of riding 4 rides.)  She was a little sad & upset, but she got over it pretty fast.

Bladen & Taya opted to ride the Raging River Raft ride.  They LOVED it & I loved seeing them be happy together.  They are such a cute little pair.

Lorien & Taya then rode the jeep ride & loved every minute of that one too.

We walked around & rode several rides, had some gelato, & walked around the farmer's market for a little bit.  Then we found an adorable little place for kids to play.  Lorien & Cadence tried their hand at roping cows.  Lorien was naturally good.  I was surprised.  Cadence was just plain adorable.  She never roped the calf, but she looked fantastic swinging that rope around.

Taya, Bladen, & Craiger found a little area with play tractors.  They got a kick out of driving them around.

Bladen's favorite part of the fair was milking the fake cow.  They had a big plastic cow with little udders that sprayed water when you "milked" them.  He LOVED it.  He was pretty good at it too.  Hmmm. . . maybe we should get a cow.  (JK)

Cadence was really good at throwing horseshoes.  Next time we play, she's on MY TEAM.

The kids found a big fun house in the adult section of the fair & insisted on going in.  Lorien got trapped in the spinning tunnel & couldn't figure out how to get out.  It was HILARIOUS.

After playing some more we went & visited all the animals being judged at the fair.  Craiger made a cow friend.

We all got some FABULOUS fair food.  The kids got corn dogs & I got me a big plate of yummy BBQ.  It was DELICIOUS.

Then, on our way out of the fair, we let the kids do ONE MORE RIDE.  They all went into the mirror maze together.  It took them a while to find their way out, but Lo was a little upset when she got out & realized it was over.  She wanted to stay in there forever.

We had a blast.  I'm SO glad we took the opportunity to go & explore at the Monterey County Fair.  I'm going to miss this area.  We've loved living here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Taya's 5th Birthday Party - My Little Pony

Happy Birthday to Taya!  I can't believe it's been 5 years since that crazy 40 minute drive to the Trier hospital in Germany.  I almost didn't make it.  Taya was my first natural birth, my 3rd baby girl, my 3rd child, the spitfire of the family, & the sunshine of my soul.

Her birthday isn't until September 25th actually, but since we're moving that week I didn't want to spoil her special day so I bumped her party up a couple weeks so she could really enjoy it.  
Her favorite thing in the world right now is:
My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic
If you've never seen that show, it's adorable.  I loved ponies as a kid & I love that one of my 3 girls loves them too.  There are 6 pony friends in the show so I wanted to dedicate this party to those 6 friends.  I made 6 party stations, each devoted to a different pony.  Taya helped me get everything together for her party.

First we made 12 double dipped caramel chocolate apples for Applejack's station.  Applejack was our goody/take home station, so of course we needed SOME kind of apple there.

It was fun wrapping them up in cute pink bags.  Taya LOVES pink.  She thought they looked SO pretty.

Taya always asks for strawberry cupcakes instead of a big cake, which is a totally fine by me.  I make 6 cakes a year (for my hubby & 5 kids), so once in a while cupcakes are a nice break from the big ones.  Taya wanted different cupcakes for each of the pony friends.  I had to get creative with this one, but ended up having a BLAST matching cupcakes with the pony personalities & colors.

First we have Pinkie Pie, Taya's favorite pony.  Pinkie pie is the spunky party pony.  She throws parties for everything she can make an excuse for.  She bounces instead of walks & she's ALWAYS happy (& a little hyper too).  We actually call Taya Pinkie Pie occasionally because of the similarities between the two of them.  For Pinkie Pie's cupcakes I make pink bubble gum frosting & added pink sprinkles & a Pinkie Pie ring.  These were Taya's favorite cupcakes.

Next we made cupcakes for Rarity.  Rarity is a beautiful white pony with purple hair.  She's a fashion designer, loves sparkles & gemstones, beautiful things.  She's the prettiest of the ponies so I marbled the frosting on her cupcakes to give it a more regal feel.  I used a combination of cream cheese & white chocolate raspberry frostings for a marble effect & then added purple sprinkles & candy pearls.  They were beautiful.

Rainbow Dash is my daughter Lorien's favorite pony.  Rainbow Dash is the tomboy.  She's blue with messy rainbow hair & she can fly faster than any other pony in ponyville. (Hmm, sounds like a certain little girls I know. . .)  For Rainbow Dash I made blue cotton candy frosting with rainbow sprinkles.  Lorien LOVED these.

My eldest daughter, Cadence, LOVES Twilight Sparkle.  Twilight Sparkle is a smart pony who loves learning, reading, & being prepared for anything (a lot like Cadence).  Twilight is purple with purple & pink striped hair.  For her cupcakes I made purple white chocolate raspberry frosting & sprinkled them with pink & purple sprinkles.

Fluttershy is a cute yellow pony with pink hair.  She is extremely shy & LOVES animals, plants, & anything cute.  For Fluttershy's cupcakes I made yellow lemon frosting with pink sprinkles.  Then I added a cute pink flower ring to the top to show her love for nature.

Applejack is the hard worker of the group.  She lives on an apple farm & loves the hard work that comes along with farming.  She loves making apple treats for her pony friends.  I love Applejack's southern accent & her "I can do anything I put my mind to" attitude.  She's one of my favorites.  Her cupcake had orange cream frosting with red & yellow sprinkles.  The orange frosting was my favorite.  YUM.

Together, all the cupcakes looked gorgeous as a centerpiece on the table.

My friend Nancy sent me all sorts of fun My Little Pony table decorations.  It made decorating for the party extra fun.  Everything was SO BRIGHT & COLORFUL.

Taya was SO EXCITED for her birthday party friends to arrive.  She just couldn't stop smiling. . .

and making silly faces.

She wanted to wear a pink dress & have her hair curled in ringlets just like Pinkie Pie.

I set up the Applejack station with an Applejack poster, the caramel apples for the guests, & then I found adorable apple purses on Oriental Trading for super cheap.

I filled the apple purses with all the pony goodies Nancy sent as party favors.  They turned out really cute.

Rainbow Dash's station was easy to set up.  I found a "pin the cutie mark on Rainbow Dash" on Oriental Trading as well.

We blew up balloons with my little helium tank I use for all the kids' birthdays & we were ready to party.

I love that my girls love each other so much.

Cadence decided to make a Twilight Sparkle mask to wear to the party.  She drew it herself & everything.  It was cute.

Once all of the guests arrived, we started at the Rarity station.  We painted everyone's fingernails with sparkly glitter fingernail polish.  Rarity LOVES sparkles & apparently so do little girls.

Next we made our way into the dining area & found the Fluttershy Station.  There we made cute little butterfly & flower necklaces. . . something Fluttershy would love.

Then we went back into the living room to take a turn at Twilight Sparkle's station.  We made pony bookmarks for our favorite books.  Twilight teaches us that reading is very important so these bookmarks will help us to remember to read every single day.

Next we found Rainbow Dash & played "Pin the cutie mark on Rainbow Dash."  The girls had a BLAST with this one.

Then it was Pinkie Pie's turn. . . since Pinkie Pie LOVES parties, her station was cake & ice cream & presents.  Nothing beats cake & ice cream at a party right?

We went back into the living room to open presents.  Taya got all sorts of fun stuff from her friends.

Evelynne got her a beautiful Ariel swimming Barbie doll.

Madisyn gave her a Barbie hair set & an Applejack pony.

L.E. gave Taya a Princess Tiana Polly Pocket gift set.

Rachel gave Taya a Spongebob bubble pen.

Miyana brought Taya a cake decorating Barbie doll.

Gabby & Gretchen brought Taya a birthday Barbie doll & a Twilight Sparkle pony.

Nora gave Taya a Pinkalicious book & a Twilight Sparkle pony.

And Anne gave her some balls & an art painting set.

After the presents, we went to the Applejack station & gave each of the guests an apple & their apple bags full of goodies.  Then when everyone went home, we had our own little birthday party with family.

Craiger & Bladen (Taya's brothers) gave her a Merida dress up costume.

Mommy & Daddy gave her a Cinderella lego set.

Auntie Marc & Auntie Char gave her lots of clothes & Hello Kitty things.

Lorien saved up her own money & bought her sister a Pinkie Pie doll & a Pinkie Pie dress up costume.

Cadence saved up all her money & bought Taya the 3 little sisters from the My Little Pony TV show.

Taya was SO excited about the Pinkie Pie costume.  She wore those pony ears for the rest of the day.

My dear friend Nancy sent Taya some new outfits, shoes, & a Pinkie Pie Pony toy.

 I think Taya had a WONDERFUL birthday.  Thank you to everyone who made her day so incredibly special during this crazy time in our lives. 

I love you my little Pinkie Pie.
You are my SUNSHINE.